Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a central San Joaquin Valley native and local fishing expert.
Never miss a local story.
New Melones rainbows on the prowl, Melanie Lewis reported. San Luis stripers ramp up bite, Merritt Gilbert said. Eastman Lake bass on improved bite, Ranger Adela Lint reported. Kaweah bass hitting, Sierra Sporting Goods reported. McClure trout action excellent, Bill Holbrook said.
The general stream closure on Nov. 15 and the onset of cold weather in general have most people hanging up their fly rods until spring. Plenty of fly fishing still can be had at this time of the year. The lower Kings river will see flows of at least 250 cubic feet per second over the next couple months. Blue-winged olive (BWO Nos. 18-22) Mayflies will be hatching mid-day to early afternoon. The Merced river also is experiencing the BWO hatch. Cloudy days often offer the best hatches. Don't forget the third annual BBQ/Fundraiser - funds sought for added warden patrols – on Saturday at the Thornburg access park on Highway 180 and Rio Vista Road. Sierraflyfisher Guide Service (559) 683-7664. Yosemite Rivers Fly Shop (559) 641-7788.
I had a Visalia angler send in a story about his first striper trip to San Luis that became an inspection nightmare. Anglers can learn from the following:
Brandon Turner took his boat to the big lake this weekend. He was confident his boat was dry and could pass the Quagga Mussel inspection. Everything looked good until the inspector asked Brandon to remove the bilge drain plug and water gushed out. Brandon noticed the inspector's gasp, saying he looked as if he had just dumped some terrible toxic waste."
Since he always takes the plug out after each trip to remove any incidental water, he was confused. He realized it must have come from a cooler full of ice from the previous trip that had melted after he had replaced the plug, trapping the liquid in his bilge. Asking the ranger what he could do, the ranger flatly told him rules require them to have the boat quarantined for at least 5 days. The ranger told him he couldn't use the boat for the specified period and proceeded to put a red quarantine band on the boat.
Brandon said he finally gave up trying to plead his case, but after calling his buddies fishing the Forebay, he made a huge mistake when he decided he would just cut the red tag off and go through the inspection station at the Forebay after cleaning up any excess water. He said he sailed through the lower lake inspection and took off for several hours of fishing. Catching nothing, he headed back to the dock, where he found five rangers and a boat crew preparing to apprehend him and his quarantined boat.
As a first-time angler to the lake, Brandon said when the rangers closed in he realized "this mussel issue must be more serious than I know!" He was given a citation for not obeying an officer and a misdemeanor citation for breaking a quarantine period. He said his boat is in a 7-day quarantine, and he is going to court on the charges. It may be a pretty hefty fine.
Brandon said he looked up what a Quagga Mussel is when he got home, admitted it's a pretty serious issue and requested his story be published to serve as a cautionary tale to other anglers who might be unaware.
I've heard Millerton is close to getting funding that would enable inspections to be held there as well. It might get interesting in the first year or two of enforcement as recreational traffic gets subjected to these regulations. The lines could be very long and slow, and it might be necessary to get inspected before the weekend so you have a green tag that allows immediate access.
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* Try dynamite
** Have to work hard
*** Limits possible
**** Fish jumpin' in boat
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
Bass *** Crappie ** Catfish ** Trout **** Kokanee *
Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp reported continued excellent trout action for trollers and bank anglers alike with all signs pointing to the lake turning over and the regular weekly plants from the Department of Fish and Game. The trout are feeding heavily on schools of small shad with the best bite in the morning. Bank anglers have been bringing in limits fishing in shallow water in the backs of Angels and Glory Hole coves. Kastmasters and Krocodiles in chrome/blue, firetiger or rainbow-trout patterns, and Power Bait and Power Eggs fished on a sliding sinker rig and a 24-inch leader are the two best set-ups for anglers walking the bank. Harold Sanders of Sonora landed two quality holdovers to 2.5 pounds using Roostertails and Kastmasters. Lewis advised trollers to target coves and creek arms close to shore with Countdown Rapalas in natural colors with Needlefish and ExCels also being effective. Tipping the lure with a piece of crawler or coating it with ProCure Threadfin Shad scent will enhance strike opportunities. Bass fishing has improved as the fish are healthy, full from gorging on shad, and holding on structure from 10 to 35 feet in depth. A big limit of 19.08 pounds with a 8.04-pound big fish won Saturday's NorCal Bass Tournament. Eighteen out of the 24 boats entered in the derby weighed in a limit that was 9 pounds or better. Jigs or swim baits brought in the best cut of fish, but drop-shotting with a 4- to 6-inch straight tail Roboworms also is effective. The bass also are hitting lures intended for trout by trollers. A huge spotted bass at 5.75 pounds was landed by Jeff Palatini on an Excel spoon fishing the main lake near the 49 bridge. Lewis said the majority of large cats come during the months of November, December and January. The catfish are in coves and in shallower water, and a sliding sinker rig with a ball of crawlers or a piece of anchovy or shad is your best bait. The best action is at night. Crappie and bluegill action is still slow to fair with the best action on small minnows, red worms or mealworms on a slip-float rig at depths from 15 to 25 feet with 4- to 6-pound test. The lake rose a half foot to 1,049.12 feet in elevation and 81% capacity.
Call: (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023
Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area
Bass ** Trout *** Crappie *** Catfish ** Bluegill **
"Trout are going strong in the same places as last week," said Matt Barton of Sierra Gateway Sporting Goods in Lake Isabella. Night crawlers have been the top bait near the main dam. There is an emerging crappie bite, but you have to have a boat to find the fish scattered around structure in the deeper portions of the lake or near the marinas. Catfishing is decent in the French Gulch and Boulder Gulch areas with frozen shad, mackerel or anchovies. Bass fishing remains very slow with few anglers targeting the lake. The lake remained stable at 2,560.08 feet in elevation and 30% capacity. Both Barton and Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait Bucket in Bakersfield reported good trout action in the upper Kerns near the Johnsondale Bridge with night crawlers. The fish are a mixture of planters with some 3- to 5-pound trophies in the mix. Cormier touted the smallmouth action on the lower river with night crawlers or small silver/white lures. He added that the crappie bite at Buena Vista exploded, and they sold out of small minnows over the weekend with another shipment on the way. The local impoundments of Truxton, Woollomes, Ming, Hart Park and the Park at River Walk are scheduled to be planted twice within the next two weeks, and Power Bait in Spring Green, white or garlic Power is corralling the planters.
Call: Bob's Bait (661) 833-8657; North Fork Marina (760) 376-1812
San Luis Reservoir and O'Neill Forebay
Striper *** Catfish ** Bass *** Crappie *
The main lake was red hot this week with Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis touting the striped bass action between the high winds, although the bite slowed during the weekend. One Fresno angler reportedly caught and released thirty linesides with one over 20 pounds and four over 10 pounds tossing Lucky Craft 128s in ghost minnow and chartreuse shad. The fisherman was having such a good time that he waited to the last minute to fight the dangerous wind chop to make it back to the launch ramp. He waited 45 minutes for two other boats to make it to the ramp to assist them in putting their boat on the trailer, but they never arrived. The lake can become hazardous in a hurry. Mickey Clements of Coyote Bait in Morgan Hill confirmed the great striper action with one customer landing a 20-pound fish on a jumbo minnows in Portuguese Cove on 6-pound test. The angler was tossing paddletail swimbaits when he observed the birds working on the surface, and he motored over and dropped down the minnow. Gilbert said Lucky Craft Pointers in various sizes including 110, 127 and 128 in ghost minnow and chartreuse shad have been the big seller with Clements touting top-water action on big Zara Spooks or Lunker Punkers in white or rainbow trout. In the Forebay, Clements said the largemouth bass have been hitting jigs, Brush Hogs or white flukes with striper found around the twin island with swimbaits or top-water lures. The key has been to locate the bait balls and work the area. John Poindexter of the California Striped Bass Association, Fresno Chapter, is giving a seminar on San Luis striped bass techniques at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno. The main lake held at 87% capacity with an addition of 8,007 acre-feet of Delta water.
Important note: EFFECTIVE OCT. 1, VESSEL INSPECTIONS FOR QUAGGA AND ZEBRA MUSSELS TO BEGIN AT SAN LUIS RESERVOIR SRA. All boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sailboards, inflatables and float tubes must undergo a mandatory inspection. These invasive species threaten recreational opportunities, the water delivery infrastructure of California and the aquatic habitat of San Luis Reservoir SRA. Failure to allow inspection of any watercraft will result in the refusal to launch.
Call: Ly's Fishing Goods (408) 629-9644; Coyote Bait and Tackle (408) 463-0711
Bass *** Trout *** Bluegill ** Catfish ** Crappie *
Adela Lint of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Ranger Station reported a vastly improved trout bite with the addition of 1,000-pounds of catchables last week. Power Bait in various shades has been the top attractant. Additional plants are scheduled this week and the week of Dec. 18. Merritt Gilbert reported, "Bass fishermen have been averaging three to four fish per rod by drop-shotting Carolina-rigged Brush Hogs or Senkos at depths from 30 to 35 feet at the dam end of the lake." Eric Kaai at the Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno reported rainbow trout pattern swimbaits are starting to work for the occasional large fish. Lint added, "The Eastman Lake ranger staff requests that our fishing community watch out for an unusual aquatic creature, since they have received unconfirmed reports of small organisms that look like jellyfish populating some of our coves. If anyone sees these while on the lake, please obtain a sample and bring it to the ranger station so that we can have it analyzed." The area of the lake extending upstream along the Chowchilla River is still closed beyond the Buoy Line. The lake dropped 2 feet to 559.76 feet in elevation and 71%.
Bass ** Trout ** Catfish *** Crappie **
Bass in the 1.5- to 2-pound range can be found with Brush Hogs or Texas-rigged plastics over the large submerged trees in the lake. Merritt Gilbert said the key has been to work in the trees where the bass seem to be holding. Trout plants continue, but there have been few reports. Power Bait or night crawlers should be effective from the launch or swim beach areas. Swimbaits should start working for larger bass with the continued trout plants. The lake held at 489.92 vertical feet and 32%.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474; 673-5151
Stephanie Powell at the McSwain Marina said, "We have two more weeks of planting from the Department of Fish and Game and Calaveras Trout Farm, and we expect double plants by both agencies before the plants resume again in mid-January." Trollers have been scoring limits ranging from planter-sized to 2-pound fish from the Floating Restrooms to the Second Fence Line with Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler, blade/crawler combinations or spoons. The best location from the banks has been either the BrushPile or the grassy area near the Swim Beach, and Power Bait in various colors, particularly with garlic added, is working best.
Call: (209) 378-2534
Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs
Striper ** Catfish **
The best action in the water conveyance systems remains in the California Aqueduct near Taft where there is a top-water bite with Zara Spooks, and also with jerk baits such as Lucky Craft Pointer 128s. Pete Cormier of Bob's Bait in Bakersfield said, "There has been a lot of lure action in the past week." Blood and sand worms also are working. In the Fresno area, most striper fishermen are heading for good action at San Luis Reservoir.
Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River
Bass *** Stripers ** Shad * Trout ***
Merritt Gilbert said, "A good limit is in the 8- to 8.5-pound range at the present time." Plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig at depths to 30 feet are working for numbers of bass but finding keepers is still elusive. One angler reported catching and releasing 75 fish on the boat with every fifth fish being over 13 inches. A pair of striped bass to 14 pounds were hooked by bass fishermen on a drop-shot rig at a depth of 30 feet above Finegold. Both anglers hooked up at the same time, but one fish broke off before coming to the boat. The lake rose 1.5 feet to 526.96 feet in elevation and 58% capacity. The San Joaquin River continues to receive weekly trout plants, and bank fishermen are scoring a mixture of catchables and the occasional trophy at Lost Lake or the Broken Bridge with peach Power Bait, gold Kastmasters and Thomas Buoyants. Woodward Park in Fresno is scheduled for plants for the next two weeks with the Fresno Regional Sports Complex to be planted this week. Both locations are providing good action for children with Power Bait.
Call: 225-1838; 292-3474
Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River
Bass ** Trout ** King salmon *** Catfish **
The trout bite had slowed down in the past two weeks, but Eric Kaai reported the trout bite was good on Monday a half mile above Trimmer with spoons trolled as deep as six colors. Merritt Gilbert said trout trollers are averaging four fish per rod with "nothing over 15 inches" trolling pink hootchies, Shasta Tackle's Wiggle Hootchies or pink Thomas Buoyants at depths in the five to six colors of lead core range. Trout action will improve once the lake turns over. Trollers are giving up on king salmon with the omnipresent 9- to 11-inch fish still hitting everything in sight. Trout plants are scheduled for the next two weeks. Walt Lee of the Kerman Bass Club said 26 fishermen participated out of 18 boats on Saturday for a total of 68 bass weighed in with five limits total. Merritt Gilbert was pleasantly surprised at the 11-plus-pound limit winning the New J Bass tournament with a number of 8-pound limits in the mix. Spooning with CC or Hopkins spoons or drop-shotting at depths from 30 to 60 feet have been the best techniques. The lake rose less than a foot to 863.36 feet in elevation and 55% capacity. On the lower Kings, trout plants are scheduled for the next several weeks, and salmon eggs, live crickets, gold Kastmasters or Thomas Buoyants are working for planter-sized rainbows.
Call: 787-2387; 225-1838; 292-3474
Bass **** Crappie ** Trout *** Catfish **
Sierra Sporting Goods in Exeter reported excellent bass fishing with drop-shotting, spooning or slow trolling deep diving crankbaits at depths of 20 feet for bass to 4 pounds. Trout fishing has taken off with last week's plant, and Power Bait or night crawlers are working for the planters around the first and second launch ramps. Another trout plant is scheduled for next week. Jumbo minnows or cut anchovies are working for catfish to 5 pounds. The lake dropped a foot to 599.77 feet in elevation and 11% capacity.
Bass ** Trout ** Catfish **
Larry Kerns of the Visalia Bass Club fished the lake on Sunday, and he reported there was a total of four fish from 4 to 5.5 pounds taken out of 11 boats working the lake. Two of the large fish were taken on deep diving crankbaits while the big fish was landed on a drop-shot. There continues to be bait balls throughout the lake, and the key is to drop down into the shad schools. Kerns was dropping Silver Buddy spoons with the best action at 34 to 35 feet, and there was a large number of 13-inch fish caught and released. Kerns holds the Success Lake record at 19.03 pounds on a Silver Buddy caught in 2001. Trout plants continue with another plant scheduled for next week with the planters keeping bank fishermen busy along the Rocky Hill side of the lake with Power Bait or night crawlers. The Tule Point and Rocky Hill launch ramps are still open, but the best access is at Rocky Hill. The lake rose 1.5 feet to 596.98 feet and 14% capacity. Murry Park Pond in Porterville also is scheduled for trout plants next week.
Bass ** Trout **** King salmon * Kokanee * Crappie ** Catfish ***
Bill Holbrook of Escalon Bait and Tackle reported excellent trout action for healthy fish to 17 inches in the backs of the coves with Kastmasters or similar heavy spoons. The fish are chasing the bait into the coves and dropping the lures into the bait balls are producing strikes. Bank anglers are scoring with Power Bait or night crawlers off McClure Point and in Barretts Cove. Diana Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling also touted the trout action with Kastmasters or Rapalas upriver at Bagby or in the upper arm of Horseshoe Bend for trollers pulling Pro Troll's Trout Killers. Bass are found at depths from 20 to 40 feet with live crawdads across from McClure Point or from the banks at Barretts Cove. Live crawdads also have produced catfish to 16 pounds. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said the swimbait bite for bass has slowed down in the past week with brown jigs with a greenpumpkin trailer being the top lure in addition to drop-shotting with shad patterns such as Reaction Innovation's Bad Shad Green or Pro Worm Pro Gold. No crappie reports. The lake dropped a foot to 808.33 feet and 66% capacity.
Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053
Lake Don Pedro
Bass *** Trout *** Kokanee * King salmon **
The swimbait bite slowed down in the past week according to Manny Basi, perhaps due to the drop in surface temperature with the high winds and cold spell. Bill Holbrook at Escalon Bait touted the Pro Guide Johnny C's Toad Thrasher in rainbow trout as the top seller for swimbaits from their shop within the past month. For working the swimbait, Holbrook advised "dead sticking" the lure on the bottom. The best bass producers have been brown/purple jigs with a green pumpkin trailer at depths to 30 feet. The shad schools are starting to orient toward structure and warmer water, and trout action is best near the banks in the backs of coves at depths from 20 to 40 feet with shad-imitation spoons such as small Needlefish, Shasta Tackle's Humdingers, ExCels or Triple Teasers all working. Trollers have been finding good action near Moccasin with heavy silver spoons on three to six colors of lead core. Bank fishing for trout continues to be good with Power Bait, night crawlers or Kastmasters around Fleming Meadows or Blue Oaks.
Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fishn' Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011
Bass ** Trout ** Kokanee *
A trout plant is scheduled for this week, and hopefully the action will perk up with the addition of more fish in the lake. Bank fishing has been slow in the muddy and murky water. The lake is down to 38% capacity. There are two scheduled quarry blasts this week: the first was at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the second will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. A blasting schedule should be updated every Friday and is available at cranevalleydam.com/blasting-schedule.
Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748
Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake
Kokanee * Trout *** Smallmouth bass *
Huntington continues to kick out limits of rainbows to 15 inches with Wedding Rings tipped with a night crawler behind a dodger or Rapalas close to the surface with a few hardcore fishermen targeting brown trout with large plugs trolled fast around structure. At Shaver Lake, the permits have been finalized, and the repairs to the dam finally have begun. The remnants of the lake are contained behind the cofferdam. The Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project is soliciting donations for the goal of 3,000 trophies through Dec. 31, and the community continues to overwhelmingly support this worthwhile project. Anyone interested can send a donation to the Shaver Lake Trophy Trout Project at PO Box 908, Shaver Lake, CA, 93664. A letter of appreciation with SLTTP's non- profit tax number will be returned to the donor. Huntington rose slightly to 73% capacity with Shaver Lake at 0%.
Call: Dick's Fishing Charters 841-2740; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435; Rancheria Marina 893-3234; Young's Sporting Goods 841-8271, 841-2522, 841-2740
The gate to Courtright has been closed, and access to Wishon on McKinley Grove Road should soon follow suit.
Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361
The gate at Kaiser Pass is closed until spring. The lakes remain high for this time of year with Edison at 80%, Florence at 64%, Mammoth Pool at 53% and Redinger rising to 89%.
San Francisco Bay
Halibut ** Striper *** Rockfish *** Leopard shark *** Crab *** Sturgeon ***
Despite the commercial crab opener, party boats continue to pull up quick limits of commercial- to jumbo-size crab. The action should last through the remainder of the open rockfish season which closes Dec. 31, but anglers will have to work harder for quality within the next week to 10 days. Captain Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker was back at the docks by 2 p.m. with 22 limits of rockfish and jumbo crab on Saturday. He said, "We only had to pull four pots for 22 limits of Dungeness, keeping only jumbos and releasing another 35 to 40 legal crab." Son Chris Smith of the California Dawn scored 19 limits of both species on Saturday. Out of Emeryville Sport Fishing, the rockfish action returned to normal on Sunday with the two boats outfitted for combination trips, the New Seeker and the New Huck Finn, putting in a combined 62 limits of rockfish and crab with 17 lingcod to 14 pounds at the Farallon Islands. Saturday's action was a bit slower on the rockfish with a total of 403 rockfish for 57 fish less than 46 limits, full limits of crab, and four ling cod to 8-pounds at both the Farallons and the Marin coast. They are running the combination trips throughout the week. Captain Armand Castagna of the Imagine out of Loch Lomond went out with clients that wanted to go out despite the winds, and they released five shaker and kept a legal sturgeon before deciding the conditions were too rough." In all, they only fished from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with a combination of Loch Lomond ghost or mud shrimp. Fraser is out of mud shrimp due to high demand as of Sunday evening, but his supplier is digging as this report is being written, He expects to have live mud shrimp again this week. Striped bass have been scarce with the only action on the anchor. Fraser's annual sturgeon seminar is back by popular demand, and it is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Marin Rod and Gun Club. Joel Sinkay of Leonard's Bait in Port Sonoma said, "The sturgeon bite has begun with multiple limits being reported from the Pump House area of the San Pablo Bay with ghost shrimp, grass shrimp or eel. Sinkay continues to catch and release legal striper from the bait shop dock with grass shrimp, but pile worms and bullheads also are excellent choices. He added, "Sonoma Creek has been good if you don't have access to a boat, and sturgeon and striper are being taken in the Napa River near the Highway 37 Bridge." The Petaluma River has been a popular area for fishermen trying to get out of this week's winds with reports of sturgeon starting to trickle in. In the south bay, Don Franklin of Soleman Sport Fishing in San Francisco has been marking sturgeon in the Oakland Airport area while targeting leopard sharks in the 50-plus-inch range.
Half Moon Bay
Rockfish *** Crab *** Striper **
Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat had anglers on Saturday ready for a shot at Humboldt squid, but winds and seas were unruly with gusts to 34 knots predicted on the squid grounds, so they raised the white flag 18 miles from the harbor before working hard for rockfish off San Gregorio in the big swell, roll and wind. After rockfishing, they ran the pots for 16 limits of Dungeness crab. Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete made it out Friday in surprisingly good weather conditions for 13 limits of rockfish and Dungeness crab. He said the crab were of commercial grade and pulling limits is no problem. He fished north of the harbor near the Montara State Marine Reserve, saying, "The game wardens were busy writing tickets for those fishing in the closed zone at the Reserve." Baxter advised private boaters make a line on their GPS delineating the closed areas since enforcement appears to be a priority for the Department of Fish and Game. All three boats are running crab combination trips for the remainder of the open rockfish season. North of Half Moon Bay at Pacifica, Sheryl Jimno of the Rusty Hook said, "The pier is still crowded, particularly on Sunday with the good weather conditions without wind." Snatchers loaded with squid continue to be the best bet. The occasional striper is caught from the beaches, but action has been slow.
Call: Happy Hooker (510) 223-5388; Huck Finn Sport Fishing Center (650) 726-7133, Emeryville Sport Fishing (510) 654-6040; Don Franklin, Soleman (510) 703-4148
Rockfish **** Crab ****
Rockfishing and crab combination trips continue to be limits all around. Sonny Arcoleo of Chris' Landing said, "The Checkmate put in 25 limits of rockfish and crab on Sunday to go with 10 ling cod. Most of the crab are in the 2-pound range with very few that need to be measured." This trip was a repeat of Saturday's 20-limit performance. The Star of Monterey went to Carmel Bay on Saturday for 16 limits of rockfish. The Checkmate is running a crab/combo on Monday before taking a few days off for scheduled inspections. The combination trips will resume on Friday through the weekend.
Call: Chris' Landing (831) 375-5951; Bayside Marine (831) 475-2173; usafishing.com
San Luis Obispo
Rock cod ***
Rockfishing remains very good at both ports with Patriot Sport Fishing at Port San Luis reporting the Patriot brought home 11 limits of rockfish including two cabezon to 8 pounds and 22 lings fishing at Point Sal on Monday. Patriot's customers have landed a total of 2,636 legal ling cod since the May 1 opener. Out of Morro Bay, Virg's Landing in Morro Bay reporting 60 passengers caught 17 lingcod to 10 pounds, 181 red rockcod, 31 assorted rockcod, 419 copper rockfish and one rocksole on their bottom fishing trips this week. The big ling was taken by Larry Morton of Morro Bay. Virg's also is running a fall special for shallow water rockfish on the Princess with limited loads using jigs only for $89 departing at 6 a.m. and returning at 4 p.m., senior discounts on Mondays through Thursdays, and Ladies Day on Wednesdays. They are holding Ladies Day every Wednesday for the remainder of the season where ladies fish for only $25. Off the Port San Luis and Avila Beach piers, barred or black perch have been taken before or after the high tide. Patriot's seventh annual Ling Cod contest will run until Dec. 31, and leaders are: 1, Guy Leo (26 pounds, 4 ounces); 2, William Chong (19-0); 3, Brad Hudson (18-12).
Call: Virg's Landing, (805) 772-1222, (800) 762-5263; Patriot Sports Fishing (805) 595-4100; Port Side Marine Sports Launch (805) 595-7214
Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez
Bass *** White bass ** Striper ** Catfish ** Crappie **
Santa Margarita continues to kick out large fish with anglers reporting limits to 17 pounds with kickerfish of 7 pounds using suspended jerkbaits with a long pause on the retrieve. Lopez is hosting Saturday's first 101 Bass tournament, and local fishermen are predicting 18 pounds will be necessary to take the top prize. At Nacimiento, Will Hesch of Central Coast Bass Guide Service has landed spotted bass just shy of 3 pounds working the Reaction Innovation's 4.75-inch Flirt in Bad Shad Green on a 3/16 tungsten weight at depth to 30 feet. Limits in the 10-pound range are possible using spoons or drop-shot plastics on island tops at depths from 20 to 35 feet. Brown/purple jigs with a green pumpkin trailer also are effective. Quagga mussel inspections are required before boat launching is allowed. Nacimiento and San Antonio are holding at 67 and 72%.
Call: (805) 238-1056 ext. 3, (805) 472-2818; Central Coast Bass Fishing.com (805) 466-6557
Bass ** Striper *** Sturgeon ** Catfish **
Overall the sturgeon and striper bite slowed down in Suisun Bay with the water temperature dropping rapidly, but the big news is the two outstanding days put together on Saturday and Sunday by John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing. On Saturday, he put his clients on to four limits of sturgeon fishing salmon roe in upper Suisun Bay, and he followed this up with three more sturgeon on Sunday. Saturday's fish came in at 49, 55, 56 and 63 inches with Sunday's diamondbacks at 48, 52 and 54 inches. Two of Sunday's fish came at the top of the incoming with the final limit being landed at the start of the outgo. Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait said, "The hot area around the Firing Line has cooled with only small striper reported." Striper have been progressively moving upriver in their annual fall migration. In Pittsburg, James Nguyen of Dockside Market said, "The parking lot was full on Sunday with boaters taking advantage of the great weather conditions after Saturday's blow out." There were a number of striper in the 15-pound range taken in the deep water near the PG&E Plant with the shallows only producing small linesides. He weighed in two legal sturgeon at 46 and 53 inches on Saturday from Chain Island. Out of Antioch, Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait reported good striper fishing near West Island and in Broad Slough with sardines, mudsuckers or bullheads for fish in the 4- to 8-pound range. A couple of 20-pounders were caught and kept in Big Break on either bullheads or bluegill. The majority of fishermen have been targeting stripers, but Pipkins expects a transition to sturgeon fishing within the next week. He still advises using frozen shad since fresh shad has been difficult to obtain, and the size continues to be small, He said, "The shadding was over by Dec. 17 last year, but we are around a month late on everything this year." They also are good on bait with plenty of grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, mudsuckers and pile worms in the shop. Chris Lauritzen of Lauritzen's Boat Harbor in Antioch reported the San Joaquin River is muddy from the days of blasting north winds with recorded wind gusts here at the harbor of 37 mph on Wednesday with the southern shore of the river getting the majority of silt and debris. Bobby Barrack of Back to Class Guide Service was fishing west of the Antioch Bridge and reported catching and releasing over 30 stripers using either a Rat-L-Trap or a swimbait for a lure. Alan Fong of the Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento touted sardines on the anchor for stripers in the Collinsville area. He has been picking up striper near the levee breaks around Liberty Island, but the majority of the fish have moved out of this area. Fong is giving a seminar on "Shallow water techniques for big striper" at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Fisherman's Warehouse.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Stan Koenigsberger/Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303, Mark Wilson Sport Fishing (916) 682-1630; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030; Jolly Jay's Guide Service (209) 478-6645
New J Bass Club at Pine Flat on Dec. 3: 1, Craig and Frank Gong, 11.85 pounds (big fish 5.39); 2, Shaun Chong/Herbert Bobo, 8.41; 3, Ying and Ling Her, 8.40
Kerman Bass Club at Pine Flat on Dec. 3: 1, David McEwen, 6.40 pounds; 2, Ryan Voorhees, 6.04; 3, Charles Jones, 5.96; big fish, Mike Mayer, 1.77 pounds
American Bass Association at Delta/Russo's Marina on Dec. 3: 1, Mark Daniels Jr./Jamond Andrews, 21.25 pounds; 2, Timothy Venkus/Marty Hansing, 18.77; 3, Steve Adams/Blaine Christiansen, 18.76; big fish, Jesse Ochoa, 10.94 pounds
Thursday: John Poindexter of the Fresno Chapter of the California Striped Bass Association on San Luis Striped Bass Techniques, 6:15 p.m. at Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse
Saturday: No Tax Sale at Fresno Fisherman's Warehouse; Angler's Choice at Nacimiento; Small Change Bass Club at Eastman; Angler's Choice at Millerton; Angler's Choice at Nacimiento; Angler's Choice at Delta/Russo's Marina; Tracy Bass at Delta/Tracy Oasis; 101 Bass at Lopez
Sunday: Angler's Choice at McClure; Fresno Bass Club at Pine Flat; Kings VIII Bass Club at Pine Flat; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis
Dec. 17: Western Outdoor News at New Melones; Angler's Choice at McClure
Dec. 17-18: Sierra Bass Club at Pine Flat
Dec. 18: Fresno Bass Club at McClure; Tracy Bass Club at Delta/Tracy Oasis
Fresno County: Avocado Lake; Fresno Regional Sports Complex pond; Kings River below the Pine Flat Reservoir; Pine Flat Lake; San Joaquin River below the Friant Dam; Woodward Park Lake
Kern County: Hart Park Lake; Lake Truxton; Ming Lake; The Park at River Walk lake
Madera County: Bass Lake; Corrine Lake; H. V. Eastman Lake
Monterey County: El Estero Park lake